I love, love, love having a place to live. I love it. I get excited about going home. I feel happier falling asleep and waking up. The security of knowing where I’ll be from one day to the next is wonderful. The comfort of privacy induces ecstasy. The fact that I’ve unpacked my suitcase and am no longer living out of it is joyous. The feeling of closing my bedroom door and knowing that I have my own space in the world is just so pleasurable.
My spirits have lifted and I’m operating on a higher level of happiness all day every day.
The room is big and the bed is comfortable and I have no complaints. I’ve added a few bits and pieces of colour to the room, because that’s what I do.
The rest of the flat is a travesty. I’ll only live here for a few months. There’s a nice Italian guy in the bedroom next to mine. I’ve met him twice now, for about 30 seconds each time. The other upstairs room has a French guy who I have yet to meet. The huge downstairs room has two guys, or maybe a guy and a girl, who moved in last week. They have cool shoes. I know this because we have to take our shoes off when we come into the house (landlord’s rules) to keep the floor clean, even though I suspect it’s been three or four years since anyone cleaned the floors so my socks are really gross when I take them off after wandering shoeless around the flat.
Aside: I get the whole no-shoes thing. I do. But it doesn’t mean I don’t hate it. I’m too fat to reach my feet so I can’t put on my shoes unless I’m on a bed or a couch or bench that’s deep/wide enough for me to hike my feet up to knee-level. Crouching doesn’t work. Neither does sitting in a normal chair. So it’s slip-on shoes only as long as I live here.
As I say, the flat is filthy. I was given a kitchen cupboard and a shelf in the fridge when I moved in. I was told that no one knew where the stuff on my shelf of the fridge was from. It’s still there a week later. I don’t want to throw it out. It could belong to the French guy I haven’t met yet and I don’t want our first encounter to be over the kiwis and oranges of his that I dumped/moved. I bought food and put it in my cupboard. I tried to clean the fur from inside my cupboard first, but only kind of successfully as the water was temporarily cut off the day I moved on. Since then, a mystery person has put a lot more food into “my cupboard” and onto “my fridge shelf”.
The whole kitchen is vile. Every surface is sticky and there are crumbs everywhere. The sink is full of dishes, there’s half-finished food lying around and the rubbish bin is overflowing. None of the kitchen ware looks or “feels” clean. My stomach turns a little when I put one of the spoons or forks into my mouth. I always wash them before using them. I don’t trust the tea towels, so I dry them on my t-shirt instead. I don’t know why I think that’s cleaner, but I do. I have a water bottle, so I never have to use any of the glasses or cups here.
I never really trust communal crockery anyway. My mother put a fear of germs into me at an early age.
And then there are my eating issues. I’ve eaten one meal in the kitchen this week, but other than that, I’ve brought all the food to my room, which is what most of the others do too I think. I get sick with worry at the idea of eating with people all the time anyway, so I’m kind of glad the kitchen isn’t very friendly. The last time I was sharing an apartment with people, for the month of July in Galway, I managed to have toast twice and three or four bananas in the flat and did all my other eating outside of the flat. And the previous time I lived with people, with my Boys in 2011/2012, I managed two diet shakes, two mandarin oranges and an Easter egg in a whole year. (Now that I’m in a country with free healthcare I might have another go at finding a doctor who will take my eating issues seriously, not that any doctor has ever been any use with them before.)
Also, someone has been stealing my food from the kitchen. Just cereal bars so far. But you never know where it might go.
I’m vaguely considering moving all my food to my bedroom and just eating at my desk. I could buy a few bits and pieces of crockery and keep them here. I don’t know. I know that’s not normal, but it’s very tempting. I mean I have lunch every day at the work canteen, so it’s not as if all my eating is secret anyway.
Besides the kitchen, the other shared space is the bathroom. There’s a separate toilet and bathroom, which is handy. The toilet is fairly dirty, but not at scary levels of gross yet. There are so many toilet roll inner cardboard tubes there. It’s like a primary school teacher was collecting them to have the whole class make rockets. (There are also toilet roll tubes in the bathroom and kitchen. I think toilet roll is used for cleaning and drying kitchen surfaces and dishes and people’s faces and hands.) There’s rarely any toilet roll. Just the cardboard. I bought toilet roll and keep it in my bedroom. Today I did a clear-out. I threw away all the cardboard tubes. Except the ones on the floor round the right-hand side of the toilet bowl, which looked like they’d been peed on. I’ll buy rubber gloves before I tackle them.
The bathroom has a cup with toothbrushes. There are far more toothbrushes than people in the flat. How long have they been there? Do they not all rub up against each other? How can you put one of them in your mouth? I keep my toothbrush in my bedroom and carry it back and forth. Much safer. The bathroom also has about 30 bottles of shower gel and shampoo. I’ll do a clear-out there someday too.
I just want to reiterate that I’m in Heaven. Living here is the best thing in the world. I genuinely feel deeply happy all the time because I live here and have my own secure private space. I’m done with hostel life. But this place is just a temporary stop too. And that’s OK. It’s a good base. And my life can start again. In fact, it already has.